A Trousdale Estates mansion in Beverly Hills that was built in part with money stolen in the 1MDB scandal just sold for $27.4 million.
In the latest sale, Steven Gilfenbain bought the 13,000-square-foot mansion at 912 North Hillcrest Road, according to the Los Angeles Times. He is founder of the grape distribution company Stevco Inc. The home had hit the market last summer for $30 million.
The story of the property starts in 2007, when spec mansion developer Mohamed Hadid bought the property for one of his spec projects. He built an Egyptian-themed home — pyramid included — and sold it to now-infamous fugitive Jho Low.
U.S. and Malaysian law enforcement allege Low was the mastermind behind a years-long scheme that laundered $4.5 billion from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB.
Low used the stolen funds to buy numerous pricey properties around L.A. and the country. The federal government seized those it could and has been auctioning them to recoup money for victims of the fraud.
Low later transferred the Trousdale Estates property to his partner, Riza Aziz, who was later charged with laundering $250 million from 1MDB. Aziz and Low worked together often, most notably producing Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” that starred Leonardo DiCaprio.
Aziz reportedly spent around $40 million rebuilding and adding onto the mansion with plans to gift it to his stepfather, but he didn’t finish before the federal government charged him for his role in the scandal. He pleaded not guilty, but agreed to return $107 million in assets.
As part of that deal, he sold the North Hillcrest home for $19 million to a Delaware-based limited liability company. The new owner finished construction, cleaned up landscaping, and cleared out the construction equipment that was reportedly left on site. The home has six bedrooms and 11 bathrooms on over an acre of land. Westside Agency’s Fred Bernstein and Ethan Peskowitz had the listing. Westside’s Orah Nassirzadeh brought the buyer. [LAT] — Dennis Lynch